Mike Ladd has been a strong presence in central Massachusetts for more than thirty years. His completely original style of writing and performing at times defies description, leaving audiences captivated. Ladd’s music weaves aggression and beauty, intensity, and subtlety into a tapestry that has earned the respect and admiration of his peers in the music industry. As a founding member of the regionally popular Chimera, the EP Coming Into Color was released in 1985 and the band appeared in an episode of the television series “Spenser For Hire”. In the 1990’s Ladd published The Auricle, an art and poetry magazine showcasing New England artists. In its short life, The Auricle won high praise in cultural circles and was used in public school English curricula. Throughout the decade Ladd was a member of Critics, Cynics, Antagonists; Leslie Buck & the Change; and No We Don’t; as well as writing and performing both solo and with his own ensemble The Ladd Foundation. His first full length CD, The Storm, was critically acclaimed throughout the northeast and a decade after its release, The Storm remains a beautiful and brave vision of soul and psyche. Mike Ladd is also included on The Old Vienna Tapes Vol. 1, a live showcase of artists’ performances at the famed Old Vienna Kaffeehaus; and the Ladd Foundation appears on the Iggy Pop tribute collection I Wanna Be A Stooges from Revenge Records. Mike Ladd has been the subject of numerous television and radio interviews and performances, and has acted on the theatre stage as well. In this new century, Mike Ladd was a member of the funk and R&B band The Valves through 2009 and performed with them all over New England. Ladd has written for The Journal of Music in Ireland (JMI), performed solo, and with fiddler Myra MacLeod in Ladd & MacLeod, and fronted the rock band Wistah.
Today, Blackstone Cúil presents its style of Irish Mod to audiences all over New England.
Born and raised in Dorchester, Massachusetts, Myra MacLeod has been immersed in music her entire life. At the age of five, she began her musical studies at the South End Music Center. In the 1970's, she began her performance career in the richly creative Cambridge-Boston folk scene. She has performed at weddings, festivals, regional coffee houses, contra dances, and local restaurants, as a solo musician as well as a member of groups such as Ladd and MacLeod, Fergus, Riverbend, Frosty Morn, and Patchwork. Artists such as Chuck and Mud, Denis Coughlin, and John Michaels have added Myra's unique sound to their own CDs, citing the need for that extra "special something." In the mid 1990's, Myra was asked to develop a folk music program as part of the curriculum for the Performing Arts School of Worcester. Now a certified Suzuki violin instructor, she has a complete independent student roster. She successfully developed a group, the Frog Point Fiddlers, devoted to children and their love of the music. Spirited youths, given the opportunity to learn and perform together in the Worcester area and surrounding communities in an environment where they are encouraged to gain performance experience, won the hearts and applause of every audience with the lively and engaging style of their performances. Her musical style has often been described as "eclectic," "visionary," and "surreal." Bringing an accessible, grass roots approach to music making, Myra is perfectly suited to the art of the violin and Blackstone Cúil.
Johnny Guertin has been playing drums & percussion in local and regional acts for over thirty years. His high-energy style has earned him the nickname Johnny Thunder. Along with Mike Ladd, John was a member of Chimera throughout the 1980’s, which released the critically acclaimed “Coming Into Color” EP, appeared on the television series Spenser For Hire, and supported a number of national acts, among them The Joe Perry Project, John Waite, and Los Lobos. In the 90’s, John was with Leslie Buck & the Change and Change of Hart, two of New England’s top cover bands. He also contributed to local funk/R&B band No We Don’t and The Ladd Foundation. In the new millennium, John plays percussion for recording artists Orleans (“Dance With Me”, “Still the One”) and studies Irish bodhran. John and Mike are happy to be back together in Blackstone Cúil, in which John employs all of his various talents.
Brendan Keenan is a founding member of the Celtic group, Fergus, a member of the roots rock band Sons of the Soil, and has been involved in the Irish music scene in Central Massachusetts as a sound engineer since 2003. He has played with indie rock and metal bands in the past, and runs an independent recording studio. Brendan brings all of his experience on 12-string guitar, mandolin, Irish bouzouki, accordion, and flutes to Blackstone Cúil.